If Democrats need a distraction from the real work of retaking their state legislatures, they can spend Thanksgiving debating who should be House Minority Leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) or Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio). The National Republican Congressional Committee snidely endorsed Pelosi last week, crediting her for the Republican majority. I can’t recall Pelosi ever visiting South Dakota, but Ryan did last April, giving the kind of speech about working-class values is becoming the politically correct code we are allowed to use to explain how Trump beat Clinton and how Democrats can win aggrieved voters back (it is the economy, stupid, but Trump didn’t win by being king of economic empathy; he won by dog-whistling racial resentment). I’ll back Ryan just for having visited South Dakota and for the pleasure of all the confusing headlines that will ensue when Minority Leader Ryan battles House Speaker Ryan (“Ryan Fryin’ Ryan for Lyin'”).
Ryan says he’s willing to work with Trump, but he seems no pushover. Ryan says Trump’s infrastructure plan “looks like a bunch of smoke and mirrors and corporate giveaways.” He’s got that right:
First, Trump’s plan is not really an infrastructure plan. It’s a tax-cut plan for utility-industry and construction-sector investors, and a massive corporate welfare plan for contractors. The Trump plan doesn’t directly fund new roads, bridges, water systems or airports, as did Hillary Clinton’s 2016 infrastructure proposal. Instead, Trump’s plan provides tax breaks to private-sector investors who back profitable construction projects. These projects (such as electrical grid modernization or energy pipeline expansion) might already be planned or even underway. There’s no requirement that the tax breaks be used for incremental or otherwise expanded construction efforts; they could all go just to fatten the pockets of investors in previously planned projects.
Moreover, as others have noted, desperately needed infrastructure projects that are not attractive to private investors — municipal water-system overhauls, repairs of existing roads, replacement of bridges that do not charge tolls — get no help from Trump’s plan. And contractors? Well, they get a “10 percent pretax profit margin,” according to the plan. Combined with Trump’s sweeping business tax break, this would represent a stunning $85 billion after-tax profit for contractors — underwritten by the taxpayers [Ronald A. Klain, “Trump’s Big Infrastructure Plan? It’s a Trap,” Washington Post, 2016.11.18].
Trump isn’t interested in building bridges for America; Democrats shouldn’t pretend they can build bridges with Trump. If Tim Ryan differs from Nancy Pelosi on accommodating Trump, if Ryan will offer more vigorous resistance to the fascist and fiscally dangerous regime, then let’s back Ryan.
- Trump’s ascent “is not a triumph of the working class. It is a proclamation of white supremacy.” —Lena Afridi, “The Working Class Trump Will Suppress,” Al Jazeera, 2016.11.13.
- “Fascism, as defined by Black revolutionary and assassinated political prisoner George Jackson, is the complete control of the state by monopoly capital. Fascism is the last stage of capitalism in the heart of the US imperial center where the relationship between the state and corporation becomes indiscernible.” —Danny Haiphong, “Is the U.S. a Fascist Society? Fascism is a Political Economic Structure Which Serves Corporate Interests,” Global Research, 2014.04.08.
- The overseas business deals from which President-Elect Trump refuses to separate himself include eight deals inked during the Presidential campaign tied to “a potential hotel project in Saudi Arabia, the oil-rich Arab kingdom that Trump has said he ‘would want to protect.'” —Drew Harwell and Anu Narayanswamy, “A Scramble to Assess the Dangers of President-Elect Donald Trump’s Global Business Empire,” Washington Post, 2016.11.20.